With Black history month and Women’s history month both at the start of the year in the USA, I’ve been seeing lots of lists about incredible black women in US history. I’ve enjoyed reading through these lists, but it hasn’t escaped my attention that very few of women on any of these lists are fat. And I know there are amazing fat black women to celebrate, so I thought I’d make my own list.
Ariel Woodson is ½ of Bad Fat Broads. The podcast presents the bad fat broad’s perspective on all things important. Regular segments include dumpster fires on the Internet and who they no longer know; they brought the show live to the Allied Media Conference in 2016, and that was extra fatlicious. I’ve heard Ariel describe herself as fat Kim Kardashian, and I’m so very glad I get to hear her educate (and complain!) on a regular basis!
Latasha Ngwube is the creator of #AboutThatCurvyLife, a plus size lifestyle online magazine out of Nigeria. ATCL is “Africa’s largest platform embracing the plus-size community”; she is also an Assistant Editor of Vanguard’s Allure magazine. Latasha was recently successful in persuading Lagos Fashion Week to include plus size models on the runways, and she participates in Pop Us Plus, a quarterly market for fat women in Nigeria. Tune into my show in May to hear her interview!
Sonya Renee Taylor
I had the joy to spend time with Sonya Renee Taylor, of The Body is Not An Apology, on several occasions across the last year. Sonya is a poet, activist, entrepenuer, and all around bad-ass. She founded The Body is Not An Apology, a group that works to produce “sustainable social change, community, and personal health and wellness” through “a foundation of deep radical self-love.”
Stephanie Yeboah of Nerd About Town is based in the UK. She’s a “plus size style influencer” and wears the greatest coats I’ve ever seen (seriously, Stephanie, fill my closet with these coats!) Because we are in different hemispheres, I often bookmark a post, like her recent Spring/Summer wishlist, to go back to when Spring rolls around for me in the South Pacific. She posts about fashion, beauty, and fatness; check out a recent apology to her body that she posted on the site.
Tay of QueenAppleBuuum
Let me tell you about my newest addition to my art collection. It’s gorgeous, and from QueenAppleBuuum. She’s titled, Chocolate Drop, and she is delightful. The artist is Tay, and you can find Tay on Twitter too. On the QAB website, you can find other pieces of art for sale, and contact the artist about commissions. My office is full of fat art, collectibles, books, and zines – Chocolate Drop is currently in pride of place!
I consume everything that Ashleigh Shackelford writes. The co-creator of Black Action Now, she also works as a community organiser and runs training workshops on issues of body politics, #BLM organising, and intersectional feminism. My all-time favourite piece from Ashley was about the erasure of fat women in #Lemonade.
Over in Canada, Jill Andrew is working to make physical size a protected class is legislation; making it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their size (aka, fatness). She’s also a co-founder of Fat in the City, a lifestyle blog for fat women; Fat in the City is the host of the Body Confidence Canada Awards (BCCA). The BCCAs are an annual event since 2013, celebrating Canadian individuals fighting for size equality.
Jazmine Walker & Amber Phillips
I will be forever grateful to Sonya Renee Taylor of The Body is Not an Apology for introducing me to this podcast. It’s hosted by Jazmine Walker and Amber Phillips, who identify as “two petty AF Black feminists who are determined to get on WorldStarHipHop one way or the other. Each week they overcome fuckboys, Becky, hoteps, and dry skin to spit hot fire on pop culture, politics and worship anything Black women have going on”. Jazmine and Amber are based in Washington, D. C., and have their fingers on the pulses of politics and pop culture. What I love best about this podcast is that it is a love letter to blackness and black people, especially black women. They talk a lot about bodies, and fat bodies in particular, and there is a lot of laughter along the way.
Nomonde Mxhalisa is a fat, black, queer womanist in South Africa – a lover of life and a crusader of the light. She came to her feminist awakening at her mother’s knee, when the pain and triumphs of the women who raised her illustrated daily the sheer importance of intersectional feminism. I recently interviewed her for my show, and let me tell you, she’s awesome. I’m hoping to have her as a Keynote at FSNZ20. You wanna hear what she has to say. In the meantime, check out her video for Love Intersections (a film project exploring intersectionality through the lens and language of love)!
Lastly, another favourite writer of mine is Ijeoma Oluo. Ijeoma is the Editor-At-Large at The Establishment (go support them for $5!), and publishes great work there, among other online places (like The Guardian and Medium). If you’re committed to being a white ally and want to do some tough work, check out her piece on anti-racism. She also gave us the Badass Feminist Coloring Books, which included fat babe Substania Jones of the Adipositivity Project. Her writing explores race, feminism, gender, politics, size, and so much more. Her piece, “You don’t have to love your body” is incredibly powerful. So is her piece about poor people deserving to eat cake too.